Actress Arlene Martel, known to Star Trek fans around the world as Spock’s fiancée T’Pring, died in a Los Angeles hospital on August 12 of complications from a heart attack, her son said. Arlene was 78.
Trekkies still lined up at sci-fi conventions to meet Arlene and pay for autographs because of her role as T’Pring, the Vulcan priestess engaged to Spock in the first episode of the iconic show’s second series.
You can watch a clip from the episode Amok Time (below), in which T’Pring rejects Spock – with dramatic consequences.
Leonard Nimoy, who was the original Spock, tweeted this tribute to her: “Saying goodbye to T’Pring, Arlene Martel. A lovely talent.”
Arlene’s ethnic ambiguity earned her the nickname “The Chameleon” among Hollywood casting directors in the 1960s, son Jod Kaftan told CNN.
It gained her diverse roles, including as a Russian spy on The Monkees, a French Underground operative in Hogan’s Heroes, a Native American woman in a Gunsmoke episode and, most famously, as a Vulcan on Star Trek.
Arlene is also known for two of her former boyfriends. She was one of James Dean’s girlfriends in New York before he became a star, Kaftan said. She also dated actor Cary Grant for a time, he added.
Although the roles slowed down over the decades, Arlene always considered herself a working actress.
“She was still getting out there,” Kaftan said. “She had a lot of big dreams she was still pursuing.”
Although battling cancer over the past five years, she still travelled around the world to conventions where Star Trek fans gathered.
Her son said it was an odd experience for him to go with her because “guys would have a crush on your mom because she’s a sci-fi babe from the Sixties”.